Terrence Campbell fights to balance family with football

terrence-campellMost days, Terrence Campbell can’t wait to get off the football field.

It’s not that the Hamilton Tiger-Cats offensive tackle doesn’t enjoy practice, or that he’s bothered by the constant physical effort required. Even with all he’s sacrificed, he’s more than happy to be here.

No, Terrence Campbell is in a hurry because it’s bedtime and he wants to say goodnight.

Campbell’s two daughters, three-year-old Milana and one-year-old Lucie, live with their mother in Germany and with a six-hour time difference, immediately post-practice is perfect for an end-of-day chat. So Campbell, often still in his practice gear, connects with them via FaceTime to get in a few precious moments with his girls.

“It’s not ideal but it’s what I have so I’m making the best of it,” he says. “We all are.”

A Georgia native, Campbell met the girls’ mother, a German citizen, while she was attending college in the United States. She’s working towards earning a designation as an accountant and may ultimately be able to settle stateside. But for now, she splits her time – and therefore the kids’ time – between her home country and the U.S.

Meanwhile, Campbell has been in Canada trying to kickstart a professional football career after playing his college ball at South Carolina then suiting up for NFL and Arena teams. He signed with the Ticats in April, made it through mini-camp and training camp, then bided his time on the practice roster for the first 11 weeks.

That meant spending most of his work days going up against defensive end John Chick, who is currently second in the CFL in sacks and is notorious for his relentlessly high motor and supreme reluctance to take plays off.

“Chick might win a rep but then he’ll come back and talk to you, tell what he saw that he took advantage of and how you can fix it,” Campbell said. “It’s helped build up my confidence for when I go up against other guys.”

Campbell made his first start on Sept. 16 against Montreal, played four games, then got hurt. He missed last week’s win over Ottawa but expects to be back in the line up on Friday against the Eskimos.

That long road has meant plenty of time away from his family. He saw the girls in February – on Valentine’s Day to be exact – then not again until a trip to Germany during the bye week in October. He’ll go back once the season’s over for another visit.

“I talk to them every day and I think they understand what I’m doing and why I’m doing it,” he said. “I have a responsibility to them but this is my dream and once it’s over, it’s over. It was a hard decision but I feel like it’s the best decision for me and my family.”

Still, Campbell acknowledges, it’s hard. He loves football, particularly now that he’s getting an opportunity to play. But FaceTime bedtime kisses aren’t nearly as nice as the real thing.

“It’s a great situation now,” he says. “With them around, it would be perfect.”

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